Great Lakes Maps
UW Sea Grant launched a new Web site in response to the popularity of last spring’s exhibit of rare maps at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Memorial Library Department of Special Collections. Making Maps, Mapping History traced the evolution of mapmaking since the 1600s and the historical influence of the Great Lakes on the history of Wisconsin. The Great Lakes Maps Web site hosts an online version of the exhibit, including audio tours and high-resolution digital maps with zoom-in features.
The site will also host a digital collection of the U.S. Lake Survey maps. The Survey, created in 1841 by Congress, was charged with conducting a hydrographical survey of the Northern and Northwestern Lakes and preparing and publishing nautical charts and other navigation aids.
“The U.S. Lake Survey published 76 maps of the Great Lakes from 1852 to 1882,” said ASC librarian Anne Moser. “No public institution has all of these rare historical documents. Putting them online is probably the only way that anyone will ever be able to see them all together,” she said.
All 76 U.S. Lake Survey maps will be available online by Fall 2008, according to Tom Dellinger, ASC Web Developer. He added that since launching the Great Lakes Maps site last fall, at least 500 visitors have viewed it each month.
UW Sea Grant and its Wisconsin’s Water Library partnered on these projects with UW–Milwaukee American Geographical Society (AGS) Library, UW–Madison Space Science and Engineering Center, UW-Madison Memorial Library Department of Special Collections, UW-System Digital Collections Center and the Wisconsin Historical Society Library and Archives.